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Last week, the Singaporean government announced a new waste reduction target of 30% for the country’s action plan against landfill waste. If Singapore is able to achieve the target by 2030, the lifespan of the soon to be overflowing Semakau Landfill could be extended beyond the current projection of 2035. This is a part of a series of sustainability measures that the Lion City’s government has introduced over the past year since it pronounced 2019 the “Year of Zero Waste”.
The Senior Minister of State for the Environment and Water Resources Amy Khor recently set a new target for the nation – to reduce one third of the waste sent to the offshore Semakau Landfill by 2030 in order to extend its lifespan. The landfill has already seen its projected lifespan shortened from 2045 to 2035 due to the colossal 2,100 tonnes of waste being dumped there daily. As outlined in the masterplan, in addition to passing new regulations, building recycling infrastructure and research development, a fundamental change in the everyday habits of Singaporeans is necessary to achieve the reduction target.
The masterplan is a part of Singapore’s broader efforts to support climate mitigation. In the process of constantly needing to produce new items because people are consuming and throwing items away, scarce natural resources are wasted. In addition, to create more goods causes more greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to our current global warming crisis. “The associated activities – be it mining, manufacturing or shipping – also emits greenhouse gases…trapping heat in the atmosphere and contributing to climate change,” said Khor.
Taking the lead in Asia to clamp down on waste pollution from corporations, Singapore will pass the Resource Sustainability Bill. The bill will lead to new measures to cut waste from three key sectors, including electronics, food and packaging. The Singaporean government will also be building new e-waste recycling facilities and plastic recycling solutions in order to ensure businesses comply with regulations, and encourage everyday recycling habits among citizens.
Commenting on the new bill and waste reduction target, MP Lee Bee Wah said she “hope[s] to see the message trickle down to individuals. Nothing is too small or too little to save the earth for the next generation.”
Indeed, with a fairly poor recycling rate in Singapore, the masterplan will require an overhaul of the current throwaway culture prevalent within the city. While Singapore eco-conscious community is growing, with concepts like Sustenir urban farming becoming more popular and stores like The Source Bulk Foods opening up, the island nation ’s average domestic recycling rate still hovers at around 20%, according to the Straits Times. It is clear that individuals must take an initiative to recycle more, and more importantly, to reduce the amount of waste produced by reusing.
Lead image courtesy of PxHere.